Bye for now…

May 14, 2007

There is nothing sadder than a blog that is just hanging there in eternity, its latest entry getting older and older… As you may have noticed, I’m on semi-permanent hiatus from our precious blog. As I prepare for the next big thing in life and relocate back to the States this month, time is of the essence, and I sadly just don’t have enough of it these days.

Hopefully someday, HinduChristianJew will be resurrected (or reincarnated, whatever you believe in), but for now, I’ll have to take solace in looking back on all these great archives and knowing that we furthered interfaith dialogue in our little corner of the world…

In the meantime, I am cleaning up our blogroll and adding some gems from folks I met at a recent Fulbright conference, so check those out and enjoy! Blessings from the land of eternal spring!

Waiting for Hurricane George

March 11, 2007

So, we just returned from a lovely afternoon walk in our blockaded neighborhood here in Guatemala City. It’s pretty eerie out there and reminds me of when I was growing up in Central Florida. When we had hurricanes, we usually knew they were coming a couple of days ahead of time – enough to put plywood up on the windows, buy extra groceries, and then go for a walk under sunny skies. On our walks, we’d always bump into the neighbors and chat, all while feeling a sense of impending doom/giddiness. It was the same this afternoon here in la Zona Viva…

A few notes on the visit:

I’m frustrated with CNN’s lack of coverage of President Bush’s Latin American trip – instead, it’s every detail about the happy news of the baby from Lubbock, TX being found, the Atlanta bus crash, and the forest fires in California – but nothing on Colombia.

As I posted in the comments below, the Mayan people near Iximche are going to do a purification ritual of the site after Bush’s visit tomorrow. I find this whole purification stuff to be really interesting – from a religious and PR/political statement point of view. Some of you might remember conversations in the past about purifying Gandhi’s tomb after Bush’s visit a few years ago (more about the bomb-sniffing dogs than Bush…).

The graffiti outside of our neighborhood is intense and scary. Although Guatemala has not seen the kind of protests that occurred in Brazil and Uruguay/Argentina, the graffiti is pretty incredible – those people who do want to protest Bush’s visit sure have some nasty things to say/write! It certainly speaks to the growing negative perceptions of the US here in Latin America.

Immigration – not crime, foreign aid, drug trafficking, or Iraq – seems to be the main issue on everyone’s mind here. Many Guatemalans have family and friends in the US and the desire for a fair immigration package is the one issue mentioned by most people I talk to and those quoted in the papers.

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President Bush in Guatemala

March 9, 2007

It’s striking to see how much President Bush is a major part of life outside the US. His upcoming visit to Guatemala is on the front pages here everyday. Bush has never been here before, and will spend his whirlwind 24 hours in meetings in the capital and visiting a town nearby to highlight the benefits of free trade and US aid to Guate. They’ll be shutting down the streets in our Zone for his motorcade, and we’ve been hearing the sounds of security airplanes and helicopters for the past few days since they’ll be shutting down airspace too.

I hope while Bush is here, he will address the recent situation of violence here (the murder of some El Salvadoran congressmen followed by the execution of the confessed policemen/murderers/witnesses in jail). The NY Times has covered the story and so has DailyKos (where you’ll see the historic politics-religion connection…). And, in honor of International Women’s Day, it was interesting to see al-Jazeera (which oddly comes on cable here) cover the Guatemalan femicide… All this should give you pause about criminal justice and impunity everywhere.

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Why is John Edwards so popular?

February 4, 2007

I just don’t get why John Edwards is so popular among those of us on the liberal left… I’m watching him on Meet the Press and it’s just a festival of, “I got it wrong… I’m sorry…” If he got Iraq wrong during a short few years in the Senate, what else is he going to get wrong as President? Look, I admire everything Edwards has to say about the struggles of the middle class and poverty in America as a moral issue. He deserves a lot of credit for that. I’m just not sure why the “experience” question doesn’t haunt him the way it does Obama, and why the “Iraq vote” issue doesn’t haunt him the way it does Hillary.

Other notes: Edwards’s position on trade and outsourcing is isolationist and short-sighted… And, voting to cut off funding for the war is not a good move – it’s easy for Edwards to say since he faces no consequences with his constituents. Our troops need our support – Congress needs to pressure the President in other ways that don’t put our troops in physical danger.

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Paula Zahn’s attack on the Council on American-Islamic Relations

January 23, 2007

Here’s the letter I wrote to CNN’s Paula Zahn just now:

I’ve tried giving your features on racism a chance, but today was the last straw. The way that you attacked the well-spoken representative from CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) was highly objectionable. You also allowed the other two panelists to attack her, sadly leaving the impression that Muslims as a whole should accept “terrorist” stereotypes against them since they are not “vocal” enough in “condemning” terrorism.

CAIR and many other Muslim groups and mosques have done an excellent job of explaining that the vast majority of Muslims are NOT terrorists NOR do they support terrorism. Why should Muslims bear any additional burden in swearing off terrorism than the rest of us? Why shouldn’t all white southerners “be more vocal” about swearing off domestic terrorism because of Timothy McVeigh and Oklahoma City?

I’m sorry to say, Paula, tonight you were as guilty of what you say you are trying to expose. You owe CAIR and all American Muslims an apology. I’m posting this same letter on my blog and will avoid watching your sensationalist and racist show in the future.

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Salon.com editorial on Guantanamo

January 18, 2007

Here is an excellent Salon.com editorial by my friend Anant, one of the lawyers representing prisoners at Guantanamo.  Some of the letters in response make great reading and arguments on this issue as well.

Write to the White House – Law firms should be proud of representing Guantanamo prisoners!

January 13, 2007

As a lawyer myself, with a very good friend working on the Guantanamo cases pro bono, I find reprehensible Charles Stimson’s comments criticizing lawyers at big firms representing Guantanamo prisoners and his call for a boycott. The thing about being detained by America is that you deserve legal counsel. The thing about being a lawyer is that you donate some of your time to helping those in need of representation. Unless he wants to attack every public defender, every pro bono asylum lawyer, every legal professional in the U.S., Stimson and his followers ought to shut up. If right-wingers want to go on a witch hunt, they should steer clear of reputable lawyers who are giving of their own precious time to ensure that our system of legal rights is not affected by the present administration’s madness. It’s like J. Edgar Hoover all over again.

Write to President Bush right now and demand that he rebuke Stimson’s comments. Alberto Gonzalez and the DoD already did, but I’m afraid without our demands Stimson’s concerns will stay on the right-wing, nut-job radio stations for a very long time.

Oh, and apologies for the long absence, which may continue a bit longer – the New Year has arrived replete with many new projects here in Guatemala. I’m struggling a bit to juggle it all and prioritize… but this issue was too important not to post…

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Does Chanukah Really Have to Jump on the Commercialism Bandwagon?

December 23, 2006

One of the benefits of being a member of a minority faith/race/culture is that marketers of stupid shit usually don’t cater too much to you, leaving the crass displays of commercialism to other groups with larger numbers.

Well, not always. While reading one of the local papers I saw an ad for Chanukkah related chew toys. This is the closest I could find online, but it really doesn’t do it justice.dreidel

Sweet. I too can watch a dog shred a symbol relevant to my religion. Archana, you got anything similar to deal with?

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An early Christmas present for YOU

December 20, 2006

… the 12 Days of Indian Christmas!

Lots of religion in the news/blogs lately: the New Atheists, Matthew LaClair and his crazy proselytizing high school history teacher, Sam Brownback (is he always in the news lately or what??)…

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I’m not the only one in love with Interplast

December 16, 2006

Check out fave mommyblogger Queen of Spain on her blog and on HuffingtonPost… And check out the blog posts about how Interplast changes lives… And of course make a donation for the holidays!…


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